A former teenage police Explorer who was repeatedly molested by an Irwindale police officer has received a $2.75-million settlement to resolve her lawsuit against the city, according to her attorney.
“The abuse of my client occurred because of a culture of acceptance of sexual abuse and harassment of girls and women that was allowed to persist in the Irwindale Police Department,” lawyer Anthony DeMarco said Friday. “She, like others, was forced to endure sexual abuse and harassment in silence or risk losing her dream of a career in law enforcement.”
The teen was sexually molested in the police station and while on “ride-alongs” with the officer. The abuse allegedly started in 2009 when she was 14, according to court records.
Daniel Camerano, a former police officer and advisor to the Irwindale police Explorers program, was convicted in 2015 of molesting the underage girl and of sending sexual text messages to a second female Explorer. He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison.
The settlement came after evidence revealed that Irwindale police were aware of complaints that Camerano was abusing the girl but failed to act.
DeMarco said the settlement was reached shortly before the civil case was scheduled for trial.
Irwindale officials did not return calls Friday.
Several other girls in the Explorer program have alleged that they were abused by Camerano. One of them has also sued the city and the Explorer program operator, and a trial is scheduled for next year.
The Irwindale police Explorers were part of a nationwide program administered by Learning for Life, an organization affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, according to court documents.
DeMarco, a veteran of the massive litigation against the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for priest sexual abuse, said the Irwindale police reaction was “symptomatic of a culture within the Department that was accepting of sexual abuse and harassment of females by male officers.”
Former Officer David Paul Fraijo was found guilty in 2015 of sexually assaulting a female motorist during a 2012 traffic stop and sentenced to nine years in prison. That victim received a $400,000 civil settlement. Another officer was sentenced in 2013 to a year in jail for stealing $250,000 from his father.
A female trainee also sued a lieutenant for sexual harassment, alleging he promised her a job in return for accepting his advances.